Worth it Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/07/2014 to 05/18/2014 with

Academic Programs Abroad (APA): Paris - Immersion for Intermediate & Advanced French Speakers

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think the biggest takeaway from this program was self confidence. This program was challenging, but after completing it, I feel like returning to English classes will be a breeze!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Most classes were okay. Since all of them were taught in French, I didn't always understand everything and it required outside research on my part. I think the level of difficulty isn't too high and language is the main barrier. I had a huge problem with using library resources and had a major struggle with one of my classes. The program was able to help me, but that one incident did leave me upset and anxious throughout the program. APA is a rigorous program and this was the semester I felt most academically challenged, but coming out of the program, I realize that the stress was worth it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The wonderful women who run APA are amazing. There were some small miscommunications, but they really go above and beyond.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was absolutely amazing! She respected my personal space while making me feel welcome. She also spoke to my program on my behalf when she realized I was pulling all nighters to study.

* Food:

Delicious, but so expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't super socially integrate myself, but I also didn't put much effort which was fine by me. I think a lot of people stress themselves out way too much trying to really become a part of the culture, so I took a more relaxed approach and it turned out to be good. By the end of the program, I felt integrated into the culture, but not necessarily on a social level. I was definitely okay with that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was sick several times probably because of a) new germs b) new food. I just took vitamins I brought from the US and stayed well rested. My host mom offered to call a doctor to the apartment (it gets reimbursed later!) but I knew I just had food poisoning and passed.

* Safety:

Pretty safe, but I was followed twice and catcalled a few times. Try to walk around with a friend. Where I lived, just outside of Paris, was very safe and I could go running at midnight and feel okay.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I could make a week's worth of food with 30 euros, but I also liked to go out and travel so I would often spend more than that.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Book travel plans early.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 104
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Watch movies and listen to music in French.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Directors
  • Cultural program
  • Language incentive
* What could be improved?
  • More organization
  • Less work
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How intense it would be

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!